Girls Not Brides is an organization whose main objective is to terminate child marriage. It’s a global partnership that has collaborations with more than 800 civil society organizations in more than 95 countries around the world.
Girls Not Brides’ commitment to putting an end to child marriage has had a great impact on empowering young girls to achieve fulfillment and walk the walk.
Bringing the issue of child marriage to the attention of the world, Girls Not Brides successfully touches upon the matter. The organization highlights the points that will lead to the termination of child marriage.
It confronts laws, policies, and programmes to aid each other in having an impact on every girl’s life.
How Was Girls Not Brides Organization Founded?
The organization Girls Not Brides was founded in 2011, but they show no signs of slowing down when it comes to ending child marriage. So far, their impact has been monumental.
Girls Not Brides was established in September 2011. The founders of the organization, The Elders, are mainly involved in peace and human rights.
The Elders are a group of independent global leaders who are linked to each other due to a certain cause: to shed light upon matters that cause harm and impede women and girls from moving forward.
Together, they started the organization in order to build a world where child marriage does not exist. Soon after Girls Not Brides was initiated, the organization developed into an independent charity. Supporters of Girls Not Brides include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mrs. Graca Machel, and Sonita Alizadeh.
What is child marriage? Why does Girls Not Brides work so hard to stop it? What impact does child marriage have on girls?
Child marriage is the formal or informal union of by individuals under the age of 18, which is the common marriageable age in the world. The majority of the sufferers of child marriage are girls.
Unfortunately, this practice is still widespread in the 21st century. Child marriage is mostly practiced in developing countries such as Africa, South Asia, Latin America, with the highest rates of child marriages occurring in Niger, Bangladesh, Mali, Guinea and the Central African Republic.
The percentage? Over 60%. The effects of child marriage have worse repercussions on girls, influencing their health, education and social development.
Developing countries have such high rates of child marriage that one of the most common causes of death for girls has been pregnancy and childbirth. History has been an observant to many child brides. One of Muhammad’s wives, Aisha, was only 9 when she was married to him.
Joan of France, Duchess of Berry was married at the age of 12, although the wedding contract was signed when she was only 8 days old. One of the recent examples of child marriage is the heinous case of Nujood Ali. This notorious occurrence was an arranged marriage set up by her father to a 30-year-old man at the age of 10. Once she obtained a divorce, the legal age to be married in Yemen was raised to 18.
What is the mission of Girls Not Brides?
The organization devotes its time an effort to spread the word about child marriage and eliminating the harmful tradition.
Standing up for the rights of women and girls all over the world is the first and foremost objective. In accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Girls Not Brides believes and insists upon it that the minimum age of marriage for both sexes should be 18.
Child marriage harms girls globally. It puts their health and mental state in danger and limits their life choices. The organization sides with girls to voice their rights with the help of their communities.
Since work is done best with teamwork, Girls Not Brides tends to work on the issue not only locally, but internationally. What they hope to achieve on a global position is done through spreading awareness concerning the unhealthy consequences of child marriage.
By speaking openly about the matter, people become more educated about the harm that’s caused by child marriage.
The strategy of Girls Not Brides
Girls Not Brides has prepared a strategy which essentially serves as a guideline for their work with the Partnership. The organization’s strategy intends on directing at areas where extensive group work must be done to have a further impact on the termination of child marriage from 2017-2010.
The Partnership consists of member organizations, National Partnerships, working groups and the secretariat. They have all come together with the aim of bringing the harmful traditional practice to an end. Each part of the Partnership has a specific task assigned in order to reach the final goal in the composed strategy.
The scheme was realized during the course of 9 months through conducting interviews, online surveys, and focus groups. The organization’s plan was developed to broaden the impact of their work in specific areas.
Although the impact of Girls Not Brides has been significant, cases of child marriages have not yet decreased due to population growth.
Girls Not Brides’ strategy can be implemented on a local scale
The steps of Girls Not Brides’ strategy can be implemented on a local scale and then steadily escalate to the global community. To truly have a significant impact, the entire world must work side by side with the organization to abolish child marriage.
First, they must successfully get the governments to shift their attention to child marriage. Once they start taking action to stopping it, they must get civil society organizations to become partners with their schemes.
Second, the issue of child marriage must be prioritized and have representatives all over the world to reach an international and global level. Working locally with the help of communities and gradually unfolding the matter into the bigger picture helps the organization implement its strategy on a bigger scale.
Girls Not Brides has proven to have an effective strategy. Their checklist for national strategies to end child marriage is in use by national Partnerships and members in Chad, Morocco, Senegal, Zimbabwe along with UN agencies and governments.
The checklist essentially expresses what needs to be developed in the strategies and what aspects need to be covered in order to put it into action. As of now, 3 members of Girls Not Brides are a part of the Civil Society Organizations Reference Group of the African Union Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa.
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